Krams Design, an independent developer from Brisbane Australia, have released the first episode of their Anna's Quest trilogy.
Anna's Quest is a black comedy adventure game with a story inspired by the folk tales of The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.
The story follows Anna, a young girl who, in the search of a cure for her ailing Grandpa, has been captured and kept under lock and key in a tower deep in the dark wood by an evil old witch. The witch has plans – plans that involve large, mysterious machines and cruel experiments with Anna. What the witch doesn't count on, however, are the powerful telekinetic forces brought up within Anna, and Anna's own plans of escape...
You can try a demo or buy the first game for $5 USD right here.
Dagon is the name of the engine built in-house by indie developer Senscape to drive their upcoming horror adventure Asylum. It is specifically tailored for adventure games, it is multi-platform and it will be released as open-source when ready. Currently it supports the creation of panoramic-style adventure games, similar to the developer's previous title Scratches. Support for third-person adventures is announced.
Right now you can tinker with an early version of Dagon by downloading an interactive teaser of Asylum here. The zip file contains all of the teaser game's assets, including its scripts. The code is well-documented which should help understanding what's going on a bit better. Of course we're waiting in anticipation for a Dagon website which will hopefully feature more documentation.
Meanwhile you can support the team by getting their first Dagon game Asylum green-lit (or green-lighted?) on Steam Greenlight. Fans of horror games and Scratches should definitely check out the teaser as well, which provides a very moody atmosphere I, for one, can't wait to experience in full.
Deirdra Kiai, whom we probably all know from at least one of her games on this impressive and ever growing list, has launched a crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo. Her latest project is called Dominique Pamplemousse in "It's All Over Once the Fat Lady Sings!" and it needs your support.
Kiai's games always have something special about them, and Dominique Pamplemousse (how does she come up with these names?) is no exception. The game is described as a stop-motion musical game: "With singing, and everything! It'll be like watching a stage musical, only you get to control which verses the characters sing next." The main character, Dominique, is a down-on-their-luck private investigator of ambiguous gender.
A few months ago, Loom creator Brian Moriarty gave a very interesting lecture at GDC 2012 called "Lehr und Kunst mit Perlenspiel". In the lecture Moriarty reflects on his experiences creating and teaching a game design course at Worchester Polytechnic Institute. In his conviction that good game designers should know how to code, Moriarty developed a very simple game engine called "Perlenspiel". His students would use this engine to build small games for their assignments. The limitations of the simple engine and the enforcement of certain rules in the assignments produced very interesting results.
You can watch the lecture for free at the GDC Vault.
Spanish indie studio Gato Salvaje needs our help completing their AR-K adventure saga. With half of the project self-financed and already finished, the team turns to Kickstarter for the final 2 episodes. In addition, they also want to support more platforms, add more languages and improve some of their animations.
"Told in a classic point-and-click narrative, AR-K is a captivating adult drama that spins satire, comedy and rich 3D animation into a futuristic adventure that will capture your imagination.
Alice is a journalism student that wakes up with a terrible hangover; she has no recollection of what happened last night beyond the memory of a mysterious object. Who was the one night stand from last night? Why is she having such strange flash backs? Set in a dark strange future, where things are just a little too perfect, follow Alice as she uncovers a trail of clues and mis-adventures that blur the line between reality and lies."
For in case their good-looking Kickstarter promo video (see below) isn't enough to pull you over the line, the team decided to offer the first episode for free.
The brothers Tom and Adam Vian of SFB Games have released a playable browser demo of Detective Grimoire, their Phoenix Wright/Professor Layton-style murder mystery adventure game.
"Grimoire is called to a mysterious tourist attraction in the middle of a swamp... As he prepares to use all his skills to solve a murder mystery, one problem arises - the main suspect... is a mythical creature that might not even exist!"
The game has been in development for almost 2 years and the developers are turning to Kickstarter for the last financial push. The demo presents high production values, with an interesting art style, moody music and professional voice acting. The interface is clearly designed for tablets, but the brothers have announced a PC/Mac version will be realized if the project's stretch goal is reached. Watch their Kickstarter promo video below:
Jack Allin of Adventure Gamers has published an article titled "The Negative Psychology of No". Allin describes his belief that adventure games often punish their players too much by dismissing, without a proper explanation, perfectly able solutions that just don't happen to be the solution the developer had in mind.
"That won't work." "I can't do that." "No need to go down there." We've all heard these kinds of rejection lines so often that we take them for granted, blissfully unaware of the life-sucking erosion they inflict on our enthusiasm over time. Or perhaps not so blissfully. Not anymore. The adventure genre is a niche for a reason, and I believe this constant negativity is a big reason why.
Italy-based indie studio Dreampainters have released "Anna", a 3D adventure game built with the Unity engine and based on a dark Italian folklore tale. The game's length of only 3 hours is rather short, although the game offers multiple endings. An interesting thing to know about this game is that it somehow gauges your mental state by how you behave. It will react to this and alter certain things about the story and its locations.
"James Peris is a stupid secret agent apprentice whose aspiration in his job is to meet as many women as he can. But, unfortunately for him, his first mission will become too difficult for him and you’ll have to assist him finish the mission with the least colateral damage possible."
The game features 2D cartoon-style graphics, a professional soundtrack, approximately 30 hours of gameplay, 50 scenarios, over 25 characters to interact with, minigames and alternative game modes unlocked after finishing the game. A digital download is available for €3,95.
You can check out a demo first, or watch the trailer below to get an impression of the game or brush up on your Spanish.
Valve's Steam platform has been a popular publishing service for game developers for years. Independent developers have also been finding their way to Steam and their numbers are continiously growing, making it increasingly difficult for the people at Valve to decide which games to approve and publish. Game developers, especially small independent studios, often complain about lack of transparency and poor communication in the approval process. The solution? Steam Greenlight.
Steam Greenlight is a new system that enlists the community's help in picking some of the next games to be released on Steam. Developers post information, screenshots, and videos for their game and seek a critical mass of community support in order to get selected for distribution.
The move reflects the huge popularity of crowd funded game development fueled by sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. Valve opened this site for more information about Greenlight.
Forbes published an article about Wadjet Eye Games branching out from creating their own adventures into publishing games by other developers. The latest game published by the studio is of course Resonance by Vince Twelve, who was interviewed:
Partnering with Wadjet Eye was easily the biggest turning point in the game’s development. Between my wife, kids, and full time job, the time I had to devote to the project was mostly relegated to hours when I should have been sleeping. The project had been progressing very slowly in that manner for four years before Janet joined the team as lead programmer and kicked it into high gear. It’s also a relief to know that things like the voice acting, marketing, and business stuff were in the hands of people with much more experience in those areas than I have.
After five years of development, Dave and Janet Gilbert of indie studio Wadjet Eye Games have finally released Resonance. The game is available as a direct digital download or a physical boxed copy. Buying either will also give a free code to activate the game on Steam.
When a brilliant particle physicist dies unexpectedly, the race is on to secure his terrible new technology before it falls into the wrong hands. The lives of four playable characters become entangled as they fight against the clock to find the dead scientist’s secret vault.
The suspicions they harbor, the memories they guard, the connections they share - all will converge as these four ordinary people work together to prevent a potentially cataclysmic disaster.
For those of you who can't get enough of Kickstarting independent adventure developers we have the following projects for you to take a look at:
HeXit is an episodic adventure game described by the developers as a mix of science-fiction, thriller, mystery, adventure and conspiracy. The main character of the game is police Lieutenant Jane Davis, who, suddenly, finds herself in the middle of a dangerous and exciting adventure. The game will be developed by Hungarian indie studio CyberphobX. Their Kickstarter campaign will fund only the first episode, but the developers assured it will be a full game with an estimated 6 to 10 hours of gameplay. The game will be DRM-free and released for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Quest for Infamy might sound familiar to you. It is being developed by Infamous Quests, a team of people branched off from Infamous Adventures who have given us the popular King's Quest III and Space Quest 2 remakes. The RPG/Adventure game sports a retro look and feel, reminiscent of the Sierra classics. It revolves around a man named Roehm who is struggling with a questionable reputation. Roehm is trying to escape his criminal past and his latest scrape has gotten him into even more trouble. DRM-Free. Windows and Mac.
You play the role of heroine Myosotis as she journeys onward to meet with the Wiseman and hear his stories, hoping to retrieve her lost memory. The game is longer, more involved and puzzles have been ramped up in challenge since its acclaimed predecessor Bell's Heart.
Kyttaro Games today released their very first Bundle In A Box, a thematic pay-what-you-want games bundle. As you can guess, this bundle is all about adventure games. It includes acclaimed indie titles Gemini Rue, Ben There, Dan That! (The Special Edition), Time Gentlemen, Please! and the text-adventure 1893: A World’s Fair Mystery. The Shivah and Metal Dead are also included for those who pay above the average price.
If you've still got to play some of these great games, this bundle should be a great opportunity to do so. All games are DRM-free, proceeds support a charity and independent game developers are supported in the form of a grant. See their website for more information.